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(Pocket-lint) - The smartphone market is as crowded as ever - there's plenty of choice, almost too much in fact. 

If you're reading this feature, you have at least narrowed your options down to Apple's iPhone. Even that isn't totally simple, though, with a range of models to choose from. 

Apple offers the iPhone SE, the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. With eight options, the big question is which one is the one for you? Let us explain the differences to help you figure out where you should spend your cash.

Quick summary

The iPhone 13 mini is the base model of the most recent range of iPhones, and the smallest and lightest in the line up, offering a dual camera with some new features, OLED display, aluminium build, five colour options and a processor bump over the iPhone 12 mini, as well as battery improvements.

The iPhone 13 offers exactly the same hardware and features as the iPhone 13 mini but on a larger scale, with a 6.1-inch display like the iPhone 13 Pro, and battery improvements over the iPhone 12.

The iPhone 13 Pro has the same hardware as the iPhone 13 but it offers a more premium build and a triple rear camera with a few extra camera features compared to the iPhone 13 too.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max has the same hardware as the iPhone 13 Pro, but in a larger package with a 6.7-inch OLED display and a bigger battery.

The iPhone 12 mini has slightly older hardware than the iPhone 13 mini and a few less camera features, but it still comes with an OLED display, a good range of colours, offers water and dust resistance and has a dual camera.

The iPhone 12 offers the same hardware as the iPhone 12 mini but on a larger scale. 

The iPhone 11 is the entry-level model into the Face ID iPhones with an all-screen front design and Face ID over Touch ID. It has the oldest core hardware of all the current phones offered by Apple, but it is still powerful with a dual camera on the rear.

The iPhone SE (2020) carries over the design from the iPhone 8 with Touch ID over Face ID, so the display isn't quite as impressive as the other models in the company's portfolio. It has the same core hardware as the iPhone 11 models and it has a single camera on the rear.

AppleWhich is the best iPhone? iPhone SE, 11, iPhone 12, 13 or 13 Pro? photo 1

Apple iPhone 13 mini

  • Dimensions: 131.5. x 64.2 x 7.65mm, 141g, IP68 water resistant
  • Display: 5.4-inch, 2340 x 1080 (476ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone, HDR
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Battery: Up to 17 hours
  • Colours: Midnight, Pink, Blue, Starlight, Product(RED)

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The Apple iPhone 13 mini is one of the smallest iPhones available, alongside the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone SE (2020), both of which have older hardware. It has flat edges like the rest of the iPhone 13 range and it features an aluminium build that offers IP68 water and dust resistance.

There's a dual camera on the rear - redesigned slighty from the iPhone 12 models - and there's a smaller notch on the front at the top of the 5.4-inch display. It offers Face ID over Touch ID and there's Night mode on the front and rear cameras, as well as a couple of extra camera features, like Photographic Styles and sensor-shift image stabilisation.

Running the show is a A15 Bionic chip, but aside from the power boost, the iPhone 13 mini also promises a 1.5-hour improvement in battery life compared to the iPhone 12 mini. Storage options are also better and although it misses off a few features compared to the iPhone 13 Pro models, the iPhone 13 mini should be a little pocket powerhouse.

The iPhone 13 mini is the iPhone to buy if you want some of the latest and greatest features Apple has to offer but in lovely small and light package. 

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Apple iPhone 13

  • Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm, 164g, IP68 water resistant
  • Display: 6.1-inch, 2532 x 1170 (460ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone, HDR
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Battery: Up to 19 hours
  • Colours: Midnight, Pink, Blue, Starlight, Product(RED)

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The Apple iPhone 13 has the same design, features and specifications as the iPhone 13 mini but on a slightly bigger scale. With this device, you the same flat edge design as the mini, in the same colours and again, it is an aluminium build with IP68 water resistance.

The iPhone 13 has a 6.1-inch display though so it's a little larger than the iPhone 13 mini and the same size as the iPhone 13 Pro. The notch has been reduced at the top compared to the iPhone 12, but you'll still find Face ID and a 12-megapixel front facing camera with Night mode.

Running on the same hardware as the iPhone 13 mini, the iPhone 13 has the A15 Bionic chip under its hood, a dual rear camera that offers the same camera features as the iPhone 13 mini, and Apple claims battery life has improved by 2.5 hours compared to the iPhone 12.

The iPhone 13 is the iPhone to buy if you want most of the latest features and hardware in a larger package than the 13 mini, but you don't want to pay the extra for the more premium build and additional camera features offered by the iPhone 13 Pro. 

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Apple iPhone 13 Pro

  • Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm, 204g, IP68 water resistant
  • Display: 6.1-inch, 2532 x 1170 (460ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone, HDR
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Battery: Up to 22 hours
  • Colours: Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue

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The Apple iPhone 13 Pro is the iPhone with most of the latest and greatest technology from Apple. It's the direct replacement for the iPhone 12 Pro and it features a stainless steel frame, matte glass rear and a very premium finish with an all-screen design.

An OLED screen dominates the front with Haptic Touch, True Tone and mobile HDR compatibility. Like the iPhone 13, the 13 Pro has the A15 Bionic processor with next-generation neural engine, no headphone jack and it supports wireless charging and fast charging. It also has a waterproof rating of IP68.

A triple-rear camera is present on the iPhone 13 Pro, featuring a wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle and telephoto lens. The same features as the iPhone 13 are offered in terms of camera, as well as a few extras including Night Mode Portraits, Apple ProRAW, optical zoom and a macro mode.

The iPhone 13 Pro is the iPhone to buy if you want a more premium finish than the iPhone 13 and some extra camera features.

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Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

  • Dimensions: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.65mm, 240g, IP68 water resistance
  • Display: 6.7-inch, 2778 x 1284 (458ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone, HDR
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Battery: Up to 28 hours
  • Colours: Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the iPhone with the largest display, offering a 6.7-inch OLED screen on its front, as well as the most advanced camera offered by Apple with a new telephoto lens and new main lens offering 1.7µm pixels.

Aside from physical size, display size and camera however, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has everything the iPhone 13 Pro does. This means you'll get the A15 chip, a stainless steel body, textured glass back, wireless charging, all the display technology including HDR and Haptic Touch and it also has the IP68 water resistance.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the iPhone to buy if budget isn't an issue and you're after the best Apple offers in the largest possible format.

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Apple iPhone 12 mini

  • Dimensions: 131.5. x 64.2 x 7.65mm, 141g, IP68 water resistant
  • Display: 5.4-inch, 2340 x 1080 (476ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone, HDR
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Battery: Up to 15 hours
  • Colours: Blue, Green, White, Black, Product(RED)

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The Apple iPhone 12 mini is the smallest iPhone available - smaller than the iPhone SE (2020) despite offering a larger display. It comes with Face ID like the rest of the iPhone 12 models and it features an aluminium body with squarer edges than the iPhone 11 and a ceramic shield front.

There is a dual camera on the rear - like the older iPhone 11 and the larger iPhone 12 - and it comes with Night Mode on the front camera, as well as improvements to Night Mode on the rear too. 

Under the hood, the iPhone 12 mini has the A14 chip, which is the same as all the iPhone 12 models. It also has an OLED display with HDR, True Tone and Haptic Touch and it offers MagSafe, though it misses out on a couple of camera features compared to the Pro models, even if the results are still great.

The iPhone 12 mini is the iPhone to buy if you want some of the latest and greatest features Apple has to offer but in lovely small and light package. 

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Apple iPhone 12

  • Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm, 164g, IP68 water resistant
  • Display: 6.1-inch, 2532 x 1170 (460ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone, HDR
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Battery: Up to 17 hours
  • Colours: Blue, Green, White, Black, Product(RED)

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The Apple iPhone 12 offers all the same features and hardware as the iPhone 12 mini, but in a larger package. Rather than a 5.4-inch display, it has a 6.1-inch display, which is the same as the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. 

It has the same aluminium frame, ceramic shield front and it's available in the same five colours as the iPhone 12 mini, whilst also offering the same camera capabilities, with a dual rear camera.

The iPhone 12 is the iPhone to buy if you want the newer flat-edge iPhone design with some great features and in a larger package than the iPhone 12 mini, but you don't want to pay the extra for the latest iPhone 13 models. 

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Apple iPhone 11

  • Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm, 194g, IP68 water resistant
  • Display: 6.1-inch, 1792 x 828 (326ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone, HDR
  • Storage: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Battery: Up to 17 hours
  • Colours: Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, White, Product(RED)

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The Apple iPhone 11 takes its design ethos from the older iPhone XR, with an aluminium frame and a coloured glass rear.

There's a dual camera on the rear - like the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 - and it has a few extra camera features compared to the older iPhone XR, including Night Mode and Auto Adjustments, though a few less than the iPhone 12 models.

The iPhone 11 runs on the A13 chip, and it has a slight battery boost over the older iPhone XR. It offers an LCD display over OLED - and it lacks HDR too, but it does have True Tone, as well as Haptic Touch like the iPhone 12 models.

The iPhone 11 is the iPhone to buy if you want some great features, a great camera and a powerful phone despite running on older hardware, and you don't have the budget for the iPhone 12 or iPhone 13.

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Apple iPhone SE (2020)

  • Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm, 148g, IP67 water resistant
  • Display: 4.7-inch, 1334 x 750 (326ppi), Haptic Touch, True Tone
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Battery: Up to 13 hours
  • Colours: Black, White, Product Red

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The iPhone SE (2020) is the entry point into the the iPhone ecosystem. It picks up the iPhone 8 design, retaining the exact same measurements, while also offering IP67 protection. 

That design means that the iPhone SE retains Touch ID, the only model that doesn't have Face ID, and the display also sticks to the old 16:9 aspect, rather than the 19:9 aspect of the iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. 

Outside of that design, the iPhone SE is powered by the A13 Bionic, the same chap that's in the iPhone 11 models, meaning that it's more powerful than the older iPhone XR. 

There's a single 12-megapixel camera on the back and it offers the same Portrait Lighting effects as the iPhone 11, as well as next-gen Smart HDR. That means that it's a better offering on the rear camera than the older iPhone XR.

Search for the best Apple iPhone contract deals

Still searching? Not seen anything you like? Feel free to use the iPhone deal selector below, to find your ideal deal.  

Simply use the drop-down menus and sliders to find the ideal iPhone contract. Whether you want more data or unlimited minutes, there's sure to be a deal for you.

The best Apple iPhone upgrade deals

If you can upgrade today, Carphone Warehouse has specific upgrade-only deals that aren't available to new customers, or check out the network links below.

The best Apple iPhone deals everywhere

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 25 June 2015.